Snapshots of life in the Golden State. : '95 Almost Became the Year of the Accidental Tourist

Those folks up in Sacramento must have flunked California geography in school.

The Assembly recently had to correct a bill that said that Yellowstone National Park--which is located mostly in Wyoming--is one of California's major tourist attractions. Actually, the lawmakers were probably thinking of another pristine national park that begins with a Y that is in the Golden State--Yosemite.

Assemblywoman Juanita McDonald (D-Carson) shrugged off the mistake, saying, "It was just a typographical error."

With that correction, the Assembly then unanimously passed her resolution designating 1995 as State Tourism Year.


Has anyone told the NEA? Two bored chimpanzees at the Eureka Zoo, Bill and Ziggy, have taken up painting to while away the hours. Zoo officials believe this is better than what Bill used to do . . . throw his own poop at zoo visitors.

So far, 20 masterpieces have been drawn by the chimps, who seem not to prefer any colors in their watercolor drawings. There's been a clamoring for more chimp art after two of the works were shown to the Eureka City Council last month.

For the record, Bill and Ziggy use their own fingers and brushes to create their art.


Ready to wear: Well, filmmaker Robert Altman wasn't invited but there was a big crowd at Aquinas High School in San Bernardino the other night to preview the school's new uniforms. We thought all the kids in Roman Catholic schools had to wear uniforms, but not so in the San Bernardino Diocese.

"For some reason, there's never been a history of requiring uniforms here," says Mark Hunter, the school's dean of students. "The historians can't tell us why."

Officials at the 310-student school, established in 1955, conducted a yearlong study into the matter and decided that uniforms would encourage higher grades, better student behavior and school spirit. Hunter says the uniforms also will set Aquinas students apart from others who might come into contact with area gang members.

Everybody at the fashion show loved the blue polo shirts and blue plaid dresses.

"We should have done this years ago," one parent says.

Only in Davis: In the politically correct town of Davis, where smoking is even restrictedoutdoors, one of the city leaders is against repaving an alley because it's a "historical resource."

Twelve residents petitioned the City Council to repave a one-block alley, contending that its potholes are a hazard to drivers and a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

But Councilwoman Julie Partansky, an artist, invoked the California Environmental Quality Act, contending that the repaving would disrupt the fabric of the neighborhood as originally conceived.

"The alleys have a wonderful ambience," Partansky said. "To pave them would make a world of difference. It's real mellow in the alley now."

The council agreed to survey all landowners whose properties touch the alley for their opinions. A staff report recommends spending $43,500 to pave the alley, including $5,000 for an archeological assessment.


Stress, stress, what stress? Republican Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian of San Diego is very stressed out that a former member of the State Board of Equalization was awarded $74,000 for stress that he claims to have developed while defending himself against misconduct charges. So Kaloogian has introduced legislation to outlaw stress-related workers' compensation claims for elected officials.

"Elected officials should simply not be allowed to file or receive stress-related claims, period," the lawmaker said. "It is an outrage. . . . That practice must end."

The equalization board member, William Bennett, was accused in 1991 of filing false expense reports. In a plea bargain, Bennett agreed to plead no contest to a single count of filing a false claim and pay a $1,000 fine. He also repaid the state $5,500 for overcharges and agreed to perform 200 hours of community service.

The next year, Republican board members tried to oust Bennett, a Democrat who was elected to a sixth term in 1990. During a raucous meeting he felt chest pains and later underwent heart bypass surgery. He resigned at the end of 1992.

A judge awarded Bennett a permanent, partial disability because of heart trouble "arising out of and in the course of employment" at the Board of Equalization.


"We came from Los Angeles, where we used to deal with the stress of the corporate world 16 hours a day. Now, we deal with this. Which is better? You learn to deal with stress in all situations."

--L.A. expatriate Glenn Dixon on why he won't leave the Russian River area in the redwoods north of San Francisco despite recurring floods.


Top Speedways

The California Highway Patrol writes more than 1 million speeding citations each year. Here are the five CHP beats where the most speeding tickets were written from January to June, 1994.

Location: Citations

1. I-5, La Costa Ave. to Camp Pendleton, San Diego County: 3,578

2. I-5, San Diego County border to Camino de Estrella, Orange County: 3,180

3. I-5, California 1 to Crown Valley Parkway, Orange County: 2,783

4. I-80, Auburn Blvd. to Placer County border, Sacramento County: 2,651

5. U.S. 101, I-380 to Brisbane city limit, San Mateo County: 2,289

Source: California Highway Patrol

Researched by NONA YATES / Los Angeles Times

California Dateline appears every other Friday.

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